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Real Madrid—Shakhtar Donetsk Champions League Group Stage 2020-21 Match Preview, Injuries/Suspensions, Potential XIs, Prediction

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Real Madrid kick off the European cup campaign at home

FC Shakhtar Donetsk v Real Madrid CF - UEFA Champions League Photo by Pedro Castillo/Real Madrid via Getty Images

Match Preview

Real Madrid feature in their first Champions League match of the season against Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk at the Di Stefano on Wednesday.

These two clubs last faced off in the Champions League in 2015 where Real won both matches, scoring four goals in each. They find themselves in similar positions in their respective domestic leagues.

Shakhtar is currently third in the Ukrainian Premier League, but lead the league in goals with 15 scored already. Real is third in LaLiga, but offense has become an issue as the club has only scored six goals in five matches.

Real dropped the last league match against Cádiz over the weekend, failing to score a single goal. Shakhtar have yet to lose a league match yet across six matches played.

This is an important midweek match as it kicks off the 2020-21 European campaign while Real also have the first El Clasico of the season ahead of them this weekend.

Injuries/Suspensions

The hits keep coming for Real Madrid with injuries as the club will be without captain Sergio Ramos due to a knee injury. Eden Hazard, Martin Ødegaard and Dani Carvajal remain out with injuries as well.

Shakhtar has a lengthy list of injuries to and omissions from their squad including Ismaily, Maksym Malyshev, Yevgen Konoplyanka, Mykola Matvienko, Sergiy Kryvtsov, Viktor Kovalenko, Junior Moraes, Taison, Taras Stepanenko and Alan Patrick. With so many starters out, a good portion of the squad list consists of youth players.

There are no suspensions for either club in this match.

Potential XIs

Real Madrid

Courtois; Nacho, Varane, Militão, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Vinicius, Benzema

Eder Militão will most likely slot in for Ramos as Nacho continues serving in Carvajal’s absence.

Casemiro did not start against Cádiz over the weekend. He will likely start here especially with the injuries to the defense.

Lucas Vazquez started in the last match. Zidane could roll with him again or give the opportunity to Marco Asensio or Rodrygo.

Shakhtar

Pyatov; Dodo, Khocholava, Bondar, Korniyenko; Maycon, Marcos; Marlos, Solomon, Tete; Dentinho

Prediction

Real Madrid—Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0

With Shakhtar absolutely decimated by injuries Real Madrid are even more of the favorites heading into Wednesday. This is a match that, even with the problems offensively, Real should be able to generate opportunities and put the ball into the net at least once.

It won’t be easy, but Real should come out the victor and come out with three points. Shakhtar has been a tough team in the Ukraine, but the amount of youth likely in the squad should give Real an advantage with experience and skill.

It’ll be great to see the Champions League back in action and a new campaign to start for European glory this season. This is an important match for both clubs and one where Real would like to leave off on a good note before the clubs heads to the Camp Nou this weekend for an even more important match.